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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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LUZ, J. Heinrich

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LUZ, J. Heinrich. (Heidenheim, Germany, May 30, l840--Dubuque,IA, Sept. 5, 1922). In 1889 Luz was instrumental in raising the six thousand dollars necessary for transferring WARTBURG THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY from Mendota, Illinois, to Dubuque. Luz had moved to Dubuque in 1863 where he served as pastor of ST. JOHN'S LUTHERAN CHURCH on the corner of Thirteenth and White STREETS when the congregation numbered only forty members.

Luz saw the congregation grow so quickly that a new building was needed. In 1876 he convinced the congregation to purchase five acres of land near Windsor Avenue and then subdivide the land into cemetery lots. Sold for as little as ten dollars per lot, the property remained a steady source of income that was used to purchase a suitable site for a church. The present building was dedicated on October 26, 1879, and Luz remained its pastor unti1 1908.

A successful mission on Twentieth and Elm Streets led to the formation of a new church, Saint Peter's. After a period of use as a branch church and Sunday School, a parsonage was added to the property in 1903. The deeds to the property were turned over to the new church on January 18, 1911. Encouraged by the success, Luz purchased a house on Grandview Avenue in 1892. Despite remodeling into a chapel, the mission failed with offerings never exceeding twenty-five dollars annually. Services were finally discontinued, and the property was sold.

In the spring of 1907, Luz was asked to resign his position at St. John's. His departure from the church with many friends and supporters led to the formation of SAINT MATTHEW LUTHERAN CHURCH where he remained the rest of his life. He also held the presidency, for twenty-eight years, of the orphan home then located in Andrew, Iowa. An activist in spreading his faith, Luz organized branches of the Dubuque Lutheran Church in Cassville, Wisconsin; East Dubuque, Illinois, and many other neighboring communities soon after coming to Dubuque.